The first home for most students at BCS is the 3/4 team. Our eight teachers work closely together to ensure that each student feels valued, empowered, and comfortable in their surroundings. Students are provided with opportunities to achieve their personal best, become responsible citizens, and embrace learning in a safe and positive environment. The BCS 3/ 4 experience challenges all students with rigorous curriculum, relies heavily on collaborative learning, and expectations are set for self-directed, independent workers. The majority of our current team of teachers has been in place since 2004, and, as such, has expert understanding of the developmental stages of children in third and fourth grades and is highly experienced in curriculum.
We teach integrated units, in which several topics are presented together, often encompassing several disciplines within one unit. Within units of study, we aim to integrate technology meaningfully, to allow student choice and differentiation, to provide for challenge and enrichment for all learners, and to reach the multiple intelligences of various student learning styles. Character Education is also integrated into our curriculum throughout the year. Across all subjects, we utilize digital resources for assignments, including both class work and homework.
Our curriculum operates on a two-year cycle, meaning that we do different things from year to year so that students have a new curricular experience both years on the 3/4 team. Our interdisciplinary themes are Systems (school years beginning in ODD number years) and Patterns (school years beginning in EVEN number years). We follow the Common Core State Standards, presenting standards from both 3rd and 4th grades over the two-year cycle.
Literacy – English Language Arts
At BCS, Language Arts is presented in a workshop model. In both reading and writing workshop, students are given the skills and strategies needed to become a successful reader and writer across the curriculum. During reading workshop, students learn about a variety of genres and are given the opportunity to choose both fiction and non-fiction books at their personal reading level. During the year, students participate in Book Club/Literature Circle activities as they practice speaking and listening with their peers. During our writing workshop, students are taught the mechanics of writing, including conventions and grammar. Students learn to write in a variety of forms and take these writing pieces through the writing process until they are ready to be published. At BCS, students will learn and practice cursive handwriting by following the “Handwriting without Tears” model. During the year, students are also given spelling lists and assessments that follow the “Words Their Way” model which is tailored to a student’s specific needs.
Students meet in single-grade classes for math instruction. Math Expressions is a comprehensive curriculum that offers new ways to teach and learn the rigorous mathematics on the Common Core State Standards. Math Expressions emphasizes in-depth mathematics through real world problem situations, modeling, conceptual language and Math Talk to help students build mathematical ideas that make sense to them. Students study a small number of mathematical concepts allowing time to develop the knowledge to build in-depth understanding of major mathematical ideas.
Click here to visit the Math program page.
Students discover science topics in a hands-on, inquiry-based approach, utilizing FOSS units and kits. During Systems Years, we investigate Variables, Earth Materials, and Environments; during Patterns Years, we investigate Magnetism and Electricity, Energy and Matter, and Life Cycles. Skills emphasized are teamwork, problem solving, data collection, and presenting findings across a wide range of forums: wikis, blogs, science notebooks, videos, photographs, and others. Our science curriculum is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.
During System Years, we study Michigan, which includes Geography, History, Economics, Government, and Core Democratic Values. This unit is taught using a textbook titled “Michigan” by Macmillian/McGraw-Hill and is supplemented with high-interest, media-based research projects. During Patterns Years, we study Regions of the United States, which includes Geography, Regional Studies, Economics, and Government. We use the engaging, hands-on Social Studies Alive! program from TCI titled “Regions of the U.S.” and also supplement with high-interest, media-based research projects.